Health & Diet

Meal times are ‘imperative’ for menopause weight – ‘pay attention’

Dr Potter shares advice for ‘menopause belly’

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Cravings for sugary treats can be worse while going through menopause, but it’s not just what women eat when following their mid-life diets that matter. When they eat is equally as important and experts have suggested women need to “pay attention” to avoid unwanted weight gain and lose weight effectively.

Dr Pamela Peeke, author of Body for Life for Women, revealed why it’s so important that women time their meals and snack right during this life phase so as to avoid seeing the number on the scales creep up.

Dr Peeke said: “Don’t eat too much too late. Eating later in the evening is murder for trying to keep weight off.”

Another habit brought on by the normal changes and these dreaded cravings is mindlessly snacking throughout the day.

This is something that can easily boost women’s calorie intake much higher than their average daily allowance.

Dr Peeke explained: “What a menopausal woman does from 3pm on every day can determine how big her belly is. That’s when most women tend to overeat and over-snack.”

Instead, she suggested they must start to “pay attention” to their circadian rhythm, which are the body’s physical, mental, and behavioural changes that follow a 24-hour cycle.

She added: “Eat during a window of eight to 12 hours a day, and then don’t eat for the rest of the time.

“Experts find this imperative to take care of weight at any age, but especially during menopause.”

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But sticking to a strict diet isn’t always easy, but she reassured following a time schedule “will help” with weight loss.

She advised: “End your eating at a reasonable time like 7pm, and pick it up again 12 hours later the next morning at 7am.”

In 2018, a review of various studies found that intermittently restricting the days in a week that a person eats may be an effective strategy for weight loss in overweight adults.

Intermittent fasting methods have long been a popular choice for those wanting to shed pounds and have been hailed by many dieting professionals.

Kerri Ferraioli, nutritionist at food sensitivity specialists YorkTest revealed her take on the popular diet trend.

She explained: “The diet, which involves switching between fasting and eating on a regular schedule, doesn’t restrict any specific foods when you’re in the period of eating normally.

“Intermittent fasting can help you to lose weight and improve your health when done correctly and safely, as it’s likely to reduce your daily calorie intake.”

But she added: “However it should not be undertaken as part of a crash diet, and it’s important to ensure that you always consume at least 1,200 calories per day, and pay attention to how you feel.”

Instead, Ferraioli suggested a strategy to help curb those hunger pains that can creep up unexpectedly.

“If you’re constantly hungry, it may be worth adjusting your fasting time to avoid feeling further hunger symptoms such as headaches, weakness, and a lack of energy,” she said.

Before exploring intermittent fasting as a weight loss strategy, it’s best to check in with your doctor to avoid risks from undernourishing yourself and any risks that may be specific to your health conditions.

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